MANILA – Malacanang on Wednesday defended Interior Secretary Mar Roxas from critics, particularly the militant group Bayan Muna, which questions the sources of his campaign funds.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Roxas, the administration’s standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, has never used his position to advance his personal gain.
”Do you expect he will do this? The answer is very simple. In his 20 years of public service, he has never been tainted with corruption. He has always maintained his integrity,” Lacierda said.
”That’s also the statement of the President in his endorsement speech, and nobody has ever questioned him on his integrity, nobody has ever questioned him in his experience,” he added.
Lacierda said Roxas, as former secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), played key role in the expansion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) in the country but he never used his influence for personal gain.
”What we didn’t realize was that he prohibited his own family from engaging in the BPO business. You didn’t know that, I didn’t know that. He did it honestly and with integrity,” Lacierda said.
The Palace official said Roxas, a former senator who ran but lost in the 2010 vice presidential race, has never been accused of using government funds for a campaign.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate has questioned the funds being used by Roxas for his political ads.
Lacierda said Bayan Muna is losing its credibility by obviously favoring other candidates who already declared plans in 2016 while still serving the government.
He did not name names but he was obviously referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay, a former housing czar and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concern.
Binay, who expressed intention to run for president as early as 2010, resigned from the Cabinet only last June and launched his attacks against the same government which he served for almost five years.
Lacierda also allayed apprehension by Binay’s spokesman Atty. Paulo Quicho that the Php303-billion savings from the 2014 national budget will be used by the administration for 2016 elections.
”Quicho or the Binay camp is just using it as political issue. If they want to ask (about this budget), they can ask (budget) Secretary Butch Abad. He is in the Senate for budget briefing. Secretary Butch will answer all questions. We have been very, very transparent,” Lacierda said.
”President Aquino has already mentioned we didn’t use the 2013 budget for the midterm elections. So I can tell you categorically that we’re not going to use the 2016 budget for the 2016 elections,” Lacierda added.
Lacierda said in view of President Aquino, Roxas will be the best person to lead and continue the Daang Matuwid (straight path) governance.
”The Daang Matuwid torch has been passed to Secretary Mar Roxas,” Lacierda said.